Some things or ideas germinate, percolate, resonate and finally dominate a life. They may not always be at the forefront, but they are nonetheless omnipresent for a person. Property wiki is most likely one of those things for me.
The objective behind property wiki is to do as much "good" as possible while allowing individuals to determine what that good is. Property, the access, control, security and stability it brings is one of the foremost concepts in cultural civilization. Amthropologists don't study it too much leaving it mainly to economists, but the recognition of property, the anthropic claim of "mine" in the fleeting moments that are the individual persons moment has determined more about cultures, society and history than almost any other driving force with the exception being the concept of self "religion" and the natural human sex drive.
Property wiki is an attempt at helping more people in more parts of the world effectively claim property in a more organized way. Here is a video synopsis of the problem according to Hernando De Soto World Bank Video (91 minutes but worth it)
The problem is estimated to measure in the Trillions of dollars and affect the poor, even if that sounds a bit tautological. There is enough wealth in most poor countries to allow them to realize strong economic growth and a leap out of "relative poverty" The book recommendation is The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else If you are interested in making a difference using economics, then this may be the path for you.
Property Wiki will use open source software, the web, grass roots participation to frame the problem, qualitatively, quantitatively and most importantly, publicly.
I came up with the idea for Property wiki over 2 years from 2001 to 2003. I wanted to isolate what the biggest impact could be for the poor in terms of ROI and non-intervention. The only other case for high ROI and minimal intervention was micro-nutrients and Iodized salt, both of which lead to higher IQ's and more thinking individuals in the world.
Property wiki seeks to capture the processes and cost associated with formalizing property ownership, management and transfer for small holders in countries across the world. The thesis being that over $9.3 trillion exists as dead capital , or non fungible assets. Squatters in small homes, plots and areas around the world, have no security or incentive to develop or increase the value of their holdings. Freeing these assets would allow for capital to be made available in times of emergency, for personal investments in education or simply to rationalize un-economic assets. Efficient markets mean more security for individuals, access to opportunity and a larger tax base for governments to build out infrastructure.
Property wiki aims to combine the power of open source wiki's and reporting to capture the steps required to secure property rights. Property wiki then seeks to use the behavioral aspects of social pressure and ego to facilitate change, albeit slowly. Property wiki will organize the steps required to secure property rights into a quantitative index so that countries can be compared. After all the securing and managing of property rights is service and should therefore have relative comparable costs in terms of GDP/capita in various countries.
Finally it is hoped that by publishing the costs in each country and ranking them from top to bottom, pressure from inside these countries may change these procedures for the better, allowing more people to participate in the "formal economies" within these countries. A good example of social pressure via ranking can be found in the excellent indexes published on corruption by Transparency international.